Category Archives: THINKING ABOUT THIS AND THAT

Thoughts On Blogging

A lovely maker whose posts and content I love recently surveyed her Instagram audience about blogging, and more specifically about how to find things to blog about. Her question got me thinking because I used to ask myself the same question – I sometimes still do! – and after sharing my experience with her I realised that it would actually make a good blog post, so here we are!

How do you find things to talk about?

This question used to really bug me. I was reading so many blog posts that were either interesting, informative, beautiful or all three that it sometimes felt like I would never be able to write anything good in comparison. I also felt that I was joining the game too late: people had already written about such and such topics, and they’d probably done it way better than I would ever do. And then one day I read somewhere a sentence that went roughly like this (I’m paraphrasing): everything has already been done but nobody will ever do it like you would.

That sentence was a massive eye-opener. I realised that what I liked about all those amazing articles was that they reflected the author’s experience, their opinion, and that they were written in a style that was truly personal to them. I also came to realise that I liked reading articles that answer questions I ask myself and articles about things that I am curious about, like how other artists work, what their favourite art materials are, how people live in other countries, … those kinds of things.

How I find things to talk about

I can’t second guess what I think people would like to read about – well I could give it a try but there’s no guarantee that I would get it right –  whereas starting with what I’m interested in and what I want to share is a lot easier! And I figured that if I’m interested in a topic surely someone else, somewhere, must be too.

To find things to talk about I ask myself ‘what would I like to read about?’ and ‘what do I have to say on the subject?’ and then I start writing.

The behind the scenes of how I write my blog posts

Keeping track of my ideas

I usually prefer paper for most things but I had to face a tough fact: too many of my ideas were getting lost or forgotten because they were jotted down in various notebooks or on loose sheets of paper.

So now I use Google doc to write down every single blog post idea I have. Sometimes it takes the form of just a sentence and sometimes it’s a whole paragraph. Sometimes it becomes a post and sometimes it doesn’t.

I also like my lists to be very clean so that I can see at a glance what’s left to do (I’m the kinda girl who has a colour code for her daily to-do list based on whether the item is personal or for work and depending on its level of urgency you see). An electronic document gives me the flexibility to delete old or ticked items so that I only see the ideas that haven’t been used yet.

How I organise my Google doc for blog posts

My Google doc – which I used to write this post – is divided into three sections:

  • The rough ideas at the top: usually some sort of title or one line summarising the idea. I recently started adding dates next to the ideas because I find it interesting to see when I’m interested in what topics.
  • The blog posts in progress in the middle: I sometimes have several posts in progress at the same time, this enables me to chose what topic to write about depending on the mood.
  • A ‘completed posts’ bucket at the end: for some reason sometimes I like to keep a copy of my blog posts. When I do, I pop them in the ‘Published Posts’ section at the end of the document.

Another way to ‘write’ blog posts: dictating

I heard that some people use their mobiles devices to dictate their posts in Notes or in an email and then use AirDrop or email themselves for further editing. That sounds like a good idea to me because talking is sometimes more natural than writing and you might be less tempted to endlessly rephrase your sentences.

I tried it and and it sort of works, sort of doesn’t. I don’t know if it’s because of my French accent but the voice tool tends to change quite a few of the words that I say and it is sometimes almost more difficult to go through the whole text again in order to correct the mistakes than it is to write from scratch. That’s me though and I would suggest that you give it a try to see if it’s for you or not.

About writing faster

In the past few months I have also become quicker at writing my blog posts. I used to have a big complex because I am not a native English-speaker so I’m prone to making mistakes or to phrase things in a way that is not very natural in English. It took me a while (and some reading) to finally accept that this is who I am and that spending countless hours trying to write the perfect sentence is not really a good use of my time.

So what’s my technique for writing faster?

Well, first I start by writing everything I have in mind, everything that I want to say on the subject without worrying about how well it is phrased. Then I focus on the form: I edit my sentences and organise my paragraphs; by that point I don’t have to worry about the content anymore because it’s already all there. And finally, I stop editing when I consider that the post is good enough – note: not perfect, but good enough so that it communicates what I want to say. Working in this way saves me a great deal of time!


I hope this helps. Don’t hesitate to share your own tips and techniques for writing blog posts and other online content as I’d love to know!

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There Is No One Else On Earth Like You

I remember how not that long ago I was obsessing over finding my style as an artist. It was always at the back of my head. Not only that but I was seeing so much great artwork online that I wanted to be like those artists that I felt were more successful than me (note the contradiction here: I wanted to find my style / I wanted to be like other artists).

I spent a lot of time looking at every piece of artwork I was creating and asking myself ‘Is this my style? Is this unique? Is this innovative?’

These questions were putting me under quite a lot of self-inflicted stress and often I felt like I didn’t know who I was as an artist.

In my personal life something similar was happening. When I became a freelance illustrator I was faced with the fact that I didn’t have to dress according to a specific dress code and where I should have felt freedom I felt confusion instead. I had been dressing for other people for so long that I didn’t know how to dress like me anymore. In fact I didn’t know what ‘me’ would wear.

So I didn’t know who I was as an artist and I didn’t know who I was as a person.

In a way this could have been overcome fairly quickly if I hadn’t been so darn stubborn about focusing on what I felt I should do instead of focusing on what I wanted to do.

One baby step at a time I progressively let go of the shoulds, both in my art career and in my personal life. I opened up to what I liked, what was making me happy, what was making me laugh and little by little I started doing more of that until it snowballed.

My art started becoming more like me when I started becoming more like me.

Recently I read that “all art is autobiographical” and I believe it is true.

About being unique and having a unique style, the title for today’s post is borrowed from Dale Carnegie’s How to Stop Worrying and Start Living. In that book (which I really recommend reading by the way) I read a quote that really struck me. It said: “[…] let’s not waste a second worrying because we are not like other people. You are something new in the world. Never before since the beginning of time, has there ever been anybody like you; and never again throughout all the ages to come will there ever be anybody exactly like you again.”

Man, this quote feels good every time I read it!

So much time spent worrying about wanting to have a unique style and here it is, and it had been there all along:

“You are something new in the world.”

So if you ever wonder what your artistic style is and how to find it, my advice to you is: make lots of art, draw the things that you want to draw, be yourself and it will soon become obvious to you what your style is.

Same if you wonder who you are as a person. Do things that make you happy, do things that make you laugh, do things that make you feel excited and you will soon find out who you are.

As long as you are not imitating somebody else and that you are being you, then you are unique and so is your artistic voice – yes I said voice. Because your style might be similar to someone else’s (and as long as you are not copying that’s okay by the way!) but your voice, well your voice is your own take on whatever you’re doing.

I will leave you with two things:

1) A quote from Kung Fu Panda 3 (this film franchise is full of pearls of wisdom!) where Po says: “Your real strength comes from being the best you you can be. Who are you? What are you good at? What makes you, you?”

2) I made this ‘What makes me me’ illustration a few months ago and I thought that it would be fun to fill in the boxes again every year or so to see what changes and what stays the same. 

© Camille Medina 2017

You can download and print a version of this illustration with empty boxes here.

(For personal use only, no commercial use. If you’d like to use this for commercial/non-personal use, contact me here.)

Have a lovely day and enjoy being yourself in life and in your art!


Notes

CARNEGIE, D.,  ‘Find Yourself and Be Yourself: Remember There Is No One Else on Earth Like You’, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living. London: Vermilion – an imprint of Ebury Publishing, 1998, pp.168-176.

Things Change, And It’s Okay

Hi everyone!

Here is an early May update on my 100 day project.

All in all, things went okay-ish until roughly day 16. What happened is that little by little drawing for the challenge started to feel like a chore and it started feeling like a lot of the things I had been drawing were all over the place and like it was going nowhere (or at least not somewhere I want to take my art right now).

I was clear from the start that the challenge wasn’t so much about what I drew or how well I drew than it was about pushing through and moving forward.

But when you feel unhappy, stressed, frustrated and you’re not enjoying what you’re doing anymore then it’s not really good, is it?

So I reassessed what I wanted to get out of this challenge and the best way to get there.

I’m not quitting the 100 day project just yet. But I would rather take my time and come up with a hundred illustrations that I like rather than ending up with a hundred illustrations that make me feel bitter.

Things change, and it’s okay.

These first 18 illustrations weren’t all bad though. They helped me figure some things out, like the style I am going to work in for my next ‘big’ personal project (it’s still a secret for now) for example. I also really enjoyed working with Posca pens and adding pencil texture to some of my illustrations. So probably things that we will see again at some point in future illustrations.

While I slowly get back to it, here are illustration 7 to 18!

The 100 Day Project (2018)

Hi everyone!

I seem to be busy all the time these days and yet it wouldn’t be as ‘fun’ if I didn’t add an extra project to my plate, right?

Last Tuesday (3rd of April) saw the kick-off of the 2018 edition of the 100 Day Project, a challenge created by Elle Luna and Lindsay Jean Thomson. In their own words, the 100 Day Project is “a free, global art project that anyone can participate in”. The purpose of this challenge – because yes, it is a challenge after all – is to choose an action, to repeat it every day for 100 days, and to post it on Instagram. It is okay to miss a day. The goal is to keep going.

To be honest I don’t feel comfortable posting too much unfinished work on my Instagram grid anymore. I know, it may seem silly. But I am worried that it would ruin my efforts to try to create a more cohesive feel on there (it is still work in progress). And not only that. I also want to use this challenge as a way to have fun and experiment with different materials and possibly techniques too, and I don’t really want to include art that doesn’t look like me as it could send the wrong message.

After thinking about the pros and cons of taking on an extra project for a hundred days (it’s quite a long time!) and considering what I would do and where I would show it, I decided the following:

Cover2

Really, I wanted to draw characters but I was worried – I do worry a lot! – that I wouldn’t always have the time. A face take a lot less time to draw than a full character so I decided that I would draw at the very least a face a day for a hundred days and a full character whenever I have time.

As for where I am going to show my work, well, I am going to post some of it on my Instagram account and what ‘doesn’t fit’ will be posted as an Instagram story. I will also post all my drawings on Facebook and Twitter so make sure to follow me there is you want a daily update, and will have a recap here on a regular basis (I haven’t decided yet whether that will be every week, every other week or monthly).

Wish me luck!

Bye Bye 2017

Bye-bye-2017

I can’t believe that 2017 is nearly over! I’m pretty sure I say this every year but there it is: this year has gone so freakin’ quickly!

Since it’s that time of year again, I took some time this afternoon to reflect on 2017 and set my goals for 2018.

I feel that this task was more difficult today than it has been in recent years.

One of the main reasons is that art-wise, 2017 was a bit of a confusing year. My illustration style evolved in a direction that is making me question where I want to go with it. Don’t get me wrong, it is super interesting and fun! But it threw me (as well as my previous goals) off balance and now I am trying to rethink everything I thought I knew.

I am also battling internally with ‘shoulds’ (those things that I feel I should do for x, y, z reason), ‘wants/don’t wants’ (the things that I want or don’t want to do) and an incredible portion of doubt.

I ended up writing a long list of questions. I guess I was hoping that I would get all the answers by end of day today but that didn’t happen (cough – obviously – cough).

Anyway.

My hope for the new year is that it brings me a new compass that will help me navigate the confusing waters so that I can set sail towards some exciting new worlds and hidden treasures (yo ho!).

 

 

I am in a video game!

One of the great things about being a creative is undoubtedly the fact that I get to meet and hang out with a lot of other creative people.

And once in a while I get to collaborate on some exciting and extraordinary projects.

Boy, if you’d told me that one day I would get to be in a video game I’m not sure I would have believed you.

And yet it happened!

j7wYRq.gif

Why I am an illustrator

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Hi everyone,

As per a recent post on my Instagram I wanted to come back on some of the reasons why I became an illustrator in the first place.

I love to draw, that’s a fact.

But loving to draw doesn’t necessarily mean that you want to draw professionally. If it had been just about loving to draw I could have carried on what I was doing before and drawn in my free time like I have been doing – like – forever.

No. I became an illustrator because I love to draw AND because I want to move people with my art.

I want to make you smile, I want to make you laugh, I want to give you a short mental break from your daily life.

And I want to be one of those people who sets an example and inspires you to follow whatever path you choose because everything is possible.

“You can do anything you set your mind to.” (Benjamin Franklin)

So be free! And have a lovely Friday!